The countdown to the holidays begins! December is always such a busy and fun time of year with students. What better time to introduce some holiday MakerSpace?
Dreidel Fun: I will admit this is not really a “MakerSpace” activity, but one of the aspects of my Creation Station is games. I believe games are a great way to get kids to communicate, collaborate and think critically… all the characteristics we want them to show when they are creating. So, with this in mind, to go with our holiday theme, I simply put out a few dreidels, plastic coins and an instruction sheet and let them kids have a little fun.
Holiday Tree Cup Stacking: Brooke Brown has a great website called Teach Outside the Box which has so many great STEM ideas. I found her December STEM Pack on TpT had three great activities, but the one I liked the best, because of its simplicity, was to challenge students to build the tallest holiday tree they can using green plastic cups. The STEM pack, when you purchase it, has numerous think sheets and recording sheets for the activity, but for me that was too much as my students just drop in and are often on their own to explore. So, I simply created a direction sheet, put out the cups and cut out tree decorations and let the kids explore. I did add a step to mine in that I added a tree base which was simply a piece of paper with a picture of a tree holder that students have to keep the cups on. This encourages students to build up and not just wide as trees are not wide at the bottom, just a trunk. I can’t wait to see what they build. You can download my direction sheet here.
Step 1: Get the materials.
- Green cups
- Tree base (laminated sheet)
- Laminated ornaments and tape to decorate the tree
- Measuring stick
Step 2: Rules
- Use a normal speaking voice.
- Your tree must stand on its own
- Your tree must not be wider than the tree base page.
- Decorations must stick to the tree without anyone holding them.
Step 3: Test It!
- Construct your tree.
- Decorate the tree.
- Measure the tree with the measuring stick. How tall of a tree can you make?
Chinese New Year Pattern Block Challenge Cards: If you do not follow Malia and her Playdough to Plato blog, you simply must! She has so many wonderful ideas not just for MakerSpace, but lower elementary teachers in general. True, most of her things are on Tpt, but she has some that are not and just reading her blog will give you ideas and inspiration. This month, I found her Holidays Around the World STEM Pack and for $5 you get everything you could possibly need for 8 different activities which is a pretty good deal. I was lucky enough to get it 25% off during her holiday sale, so keep your eye out for deals from her.
Although there are 8 activities, the one I thought would be best for my leave it and do it kind of MakerSpace was the Chinese New Year pattern block challenge card. I simply printed out the cards, laminated them and left them out with a sign, blocks and rulers. Simply, yet so fun!
Explore Item of the Month: Every month, I try to take out a MakerSpace item as a focus for the students to explore and create with. For December, I am focusing on and teaching my younger grades OSMO Tangrams, Numbers and Words. If you don’t have an OSMO, it’s a great, and super easy, tech tool for kids to use. Tangrams is simply that, tangrams that students can duplicate or solve. Words has letter tiles that students use to spell out words. The key here is, it’s not just about spelling. You can make word lessons that have math, science or social studies as the letters can be symbols for multiple choice answers that show up on the iPad. Numbers starts simple with dot cards having kids determine different number possibilities, but eventually leads to multiplication and harder math concepts like the Communicative Properties. Happy making!